On this evening’s The Situation Room, CNN’s Jack Cafferty ran a poll asking the following question concerning ongoing rescue efforts in New Orleans: What should be done with the people who refuse to leave?
“Officials want everybody out of town because the health risks of the contaminated water are simply too great. But not everybody wants to leave.”
This raises an interesting question that seems to be eluding media representatives like Mr. Cafferty: If a large percentage of people don’t want to leave now as the health risks in the water that is surrounding them are mounting and obvious, why should we be surprised that a similarly large percentage of the New Orleans population didn’t leave prior to the hurricane making landfall?
This, of course, is an important question given the media’s ongoing contention that the federal government didn’t do enough to evacuate residents prior to the ensuing catastrophe: If folks aren’t willing to leave now that they can see doom in the waters that are surrounding them, why should we be surprised that so many folks didn’t leave when the threat was lurking from hundreds of miles offshore?
What has been lost in all the finger-pointing and Monday morning quarterbacking post-Katrina is a poll that the city of New Orleans did recently concerning this very issue. Roughly 60 percent of respondents stated that they would not heed the city’s request for evacuation in an emergency.
As the recent numbers suggest that upwards of 80 percent of New Orleans residents did indeed evacuate when they were told to do so as Katrina approached, shouldn’t we all be quite grateful that twice as many folks safely left this area than local officials predicted?
Or are such positive sentiments just not newsworthy?